I remember the day that I heard this song for the first time, Friday, June 16th 2000. I had just turned fifteen three days before. I took the bus up to LA from Torrance. Was about a three hour ride, strictly surface streets. The 232 to the 42 to the 2, 3 or 4 line. $1.35 plus an additional 50 cents per transfer. That was my first time taking the bus up to the city. I had always driven with friends. That night I hung out till 7:00pm. I wasn’t paying attention and got on the 2 line in the wrong direction. At Western and Sunset I realized what I had done and panicked. It was getting dark, I had no money and I was far from home. I told the bus driver, an older woman that I was lost and asked her for an extra transfer. I was nearly crying. She gave it to me. I got off the bus and called my friend Jon collect. Luckily he picked up instead of his mother. “Can your sister pick me up?” I asked. “Where are you?” I told him and he laughed. “No way! My sister is not driving up to LA to get you. Figure it out.” Good advice. I was fifteen and dumb. I needed to figure it out. So I took the 2 line towards downtown LA and got off 11th & Hill to transfer to the 42 line on Broadway. It was dark, almost 9:00pm. Downtown was different then, a different type of night life. Not a safe one. Especially for a teenager. So I stood on the corner and waited. I had a cd player in my bag along with a few cds, one being Mule Variations by Tom Waits. My friend Charlie had given it to me earlier that day with one request, “just try to listen to it.” I looked up to him so I did. And I tried but it was too much for me. I was young and didn’t get it but one song stood out, “Hold On”. I listened to it on repeat for the entire ride. I made it home after midnight. My father was up waiting. He didn’t ask. Said we would talk in the morning. That was the summer that I broke out of my womb. That was summer I had my father’s life hell and recently apologized to him for it.
As for Tom Waits… No words can describe the impact his music has had on my life and the influence it has had on FYF Fest.
More about him tomorrow.